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Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Mailbag: Hawks tough, but disciplined?

By Jesse Rogers

Dan Carcillo
Dan Carcillo may make the Hawks tougher, but he'll need to stay out of the penalty box.
On the Waddle & Silvy show today (Monday) Jeremy Roenick said how much he loves Chicago and that he's moving back here in October. Have you heard anything about him rejoining the Blackhawks as either an ambassador or in the TV booth (with Edzo moving to Versus with Emrick)?
Keith (Naperville)


Keith,
The booth is not happening. Pat and Eddie just signed extensions recently and they aren't putting three in a hockey booth. I have not heard any ambassador talk about Roenick and it doesn't sound like something they would do now. He's still in hockey with broadcasting and it wouldn't make sense to be drawing a paycheck from a team he covers. Plus I think they are set for now with ambassadors.

The Blackhawks lacked character and grit last year. We can all agree on that. But with them overcompensating this offseason to get those two qualities, what are the Blackhawks going to lack this year?
Curt (Chicago)


Curt,
You forgot to add, "in my opinion," because I don't think the Hawks would agree they overcompensated, but I actually lean your way more than theirs, at least at this moment. They gave up speed. Simple as that. They talked about replacing guys like Adam Burish and Ben Eager and maybe they did in terms of toughness, but those guys could skate. These additions are challenged in that department. Subtract Brian Campbell and Chris Campoli and add Sean O'Donnell, its not much better on the back end though Sami Lepisto can move some. It will be interesting to see it play out.

How does the acquisition of new, big, "bad" guys help the team? I'm more concerned about increased penalty minutes for the Hawks. I understand the young speedsters need protectors, but what's your take on over-aggressiveness that can lead to added trips to the penalty box?
Bob Costino (Valparaiso, Ind.)


Bob,
It's a very good question. I argue this point with people in hockey like Troy Murray all the time. A big, clean hit doesn't always require retaliation and subsequently a penalty. If someone takes a cheap shot, that's a different story. But the first time Jamal Mayers or Dan Carcillo jumps an opponent after a clean hit on Patrick Kane the smiles and cheers at the United Center will turn to frowns when the Hawks give up a winning goal on the ensuing power play. I hope Jonathan Toews and Joel Quenneville stress that kind of "goonery" doesn't play in Chicago, or you are right it's going to be a parade to the penalty box. Games which call for that are fine, but not every hit requires an immediate response.

Hi Jesse, What's the word on Steve Montador? I can't say I had even heard of him before we signed him, and I'm just wondering what we're getting from him and who do you think he'll pair up with?
Dom (Milwaukee)


Dom,
The Hawks really believe in this guy. And it looks like they believe in him more than most considering the way they've talked about him, the money they've thrown at him and his former team's disinterest in him. And right now he is a No. 5 defenseman, so he's not necessarily one of the main guys but he will definitely help the penalty killing. That should be his No. 1 job. He isn't the fleetest of foot and the Hawks think his offensive upside is better than he's shown. He's a nice, little addition but the Hawks have built him up as more so we'll see. If the blue line is as important as we think than he better be as good as advertised.

You mentioned in a tweet last week you'd address this but I thought I'd ask anyway. Doesn't it seem like a waste to let Campoli go the way they did when the arbitrator's award was a manageable $2.5mil x 1 year? I sensed after Stan's announcement that some bruised egos got in the way. If that's the case then I think this was a poor move. (Unless of course Lepisto is a capable replacement with a similar or better skill set.)
Keith Schulz (Waupaca, WI)


Keith,
I'm sure there is more to the story that we just don't know yet. Maybe when Campoli signs we'll find out. I get the feeling the Montador signing had a lot to do with Campoli. If Montador is a No. 5 defenseman making $2.75 million, then Campoli -- as a No.4 with the Hawks -- wanted at least that much, and from what I hear, a little more. I'm not sure he deserved it but I don't think Montador did either. Different situations of course. Montador was an unrestricted free agent while Campoli was restricted but there was more upside with Campoli. He's five years younger for one. And can skate. That's been the Hawks identity for the last several years but its taken a hit over last two offseasons. I know its easy to say here but I would have paid Montador a little less and Michael Frolik a little less and used that savings on Campoli.

I love Duncan Keith, but believe the Hawks coaching staff burned him out last season from overuse. Do you agree, or am I wrong?
Vinnie Ryan (Robinson,Il.)


Vinnie,
If I had to choose between agreeing or disagreeing with you I would agree, but of course it's a little more nuanced than that. Keith admitted he had a lack of preparation going into the season so that's on him, but once the Hawks saw he wasn't handling the minutes they should have backed off. Quenneville might say what choice did he have but there is always a choice and burning a guy out in October seems like a mistake, no matter the circumstances. Plus, they were burning him and not even winning so it really hurt.

Patrick Sharp
The Hawks like Patrick Sharp's versatility, but he's a sniper who belongs on a wing.
Will Nick Leddy still be considered a rookie next year since he wasn't on the team the whole time last season?
Alex (Houston)


Alex,
He is no longer considered a rookie. The limit is 25 games and he played in 46 so this coming year will be his sophomore season.

Hey Jesse, enjoying the beautiful weather here in the Windy City? With all of the Hawks recent free-agent signings, who do you see having the biggest impact in terms of scoring? I know the organization is big on Andrew Brunette, and with good reason. Do you see Brunette being among the Hawks top 5 in points next season?
Cam (Chicago)


Cam,
I think he'll be right there mostly because he's going to get a ton of power play time in front of the net which leads to easy points and assists. Well, maybe not easy but easy opportunities. Obviously, Toews, Kane, Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa would have to rank ahead of him so he might not end up in the top 5 but pretty close.

Hey Jesse, since the NBA will most likely not be in the cards for next year, any chance the NHL will find more air time on TV?
John Santucci (Barrington, IL)


John,
I would highly doubt it would affect the amount of national games on television since different networks broadcast the two sports, however, NBC could add a game here or there where normally there might be a marquee NBA game on ABC so its possible. I definitely think the highlight shows like SportsCenter will add more to their NHL coverage so it'll be out there more for sure. It will be interesting if some NBA fans come over, especially after the NFL is over.

Hey Jesse, thanks for all the work! Two questions: Where do you think Sharp is best suited for the team to succeed (top line wing or 2nd line center) and how big of a Central threat are the new Blue Jackets?
John (Chicago)


John,
I think few would disagree Sharp is suited for wing. As I've written and said many times he's a sniper. Snipers come from the wing and don't have to worry themselves with going down low to play defense, etc. He can do it but he and team will be much better when he's next to Kane and Toews on the top line. That trio was dynamic for a stretch last season. The team can say all they want about him in the middle but come opening night I'll be shocked if he's not at wing. That doesn't mean he won't go to center later in the season if they need him but not until they know they do.

I'm confused over all the talk of our defense getting old and slow without enough puck movers. It seems like Leddy isn't being included in the conversation. What exactly is wrong with Dunc/Sebs Leddy/Nik? Sure he's only a second year guy but Leddy certainly showed more ability then Campoli last year.
Mark (Chicago)


Mark,
I agree with you on the top 4 assuming Leddy takes a big step. He's still only 20. Leddy was good but remember he made some glaring errors late in the year. This will be his first full year in the league. There is a lot of pressure on him to help move that puck so don't believe its a done deal he'll handle it with no issues. In fact, bet that he won't. The problem is the rest of the defense save maybe Lepisto. The depth is slower than ever and that could be a problem.